Lesson 15: Mark -Chapter 14: 1-26

First read Mark 14: 1-26 all the way through.

The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in Mark 14: 1-26

Things you don’t see everyday:

Verse 9:

– Prophecy of remembrance of anointing

Verses 13-15:

-Prophetic declaration

Verses 17:

– Prophetic word of knowledge

Verses 27-28:

-Prophetic declaration

Now read it again in detail along with the Notes and Commentary below:

Notes and Commentary:

I.  The Plot To Kill Jesus –Verses 1-2

The chief priests and scribes had enough of Jesus after several days with him teaching and disrupting business in the Temple. They now plot how and when to kill him.

According to Mark, it was two days before Passover. This was the busiest time of the year in Jerusalem and in the Temple. Over 100,000 visitors came to Jerusalem during this season. A good share of the yearly income for the Chief priests, from their Temple businesses, was made during the Passover. Now this Jesus was spoiling everything and challenging their authority in the process.

Notice that the priests and scribes are not in the least concerned whether God condones their plan to kill Jesus. They are only concerned about how the crowds visiting in Jerusalem might react.

This brings up a question. Did they really believe in God? If so, how could they have come to believe that Jesus was not from God? What about all the healings and miracles? Did they really believe that Jesus derived his power from Satan? What about those he raised from the dead? How was that even possible without God’s help?

Nevertheless, they are more concerned about the crowds and they seek a way to arrest Jesus secretly. Later, they find a willing accomplice in Judas Iscariot.

II.  The Anointing of Jesus –Verses 3-9

Jesus and his disciples had been staying in Bethany with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. That night he was having dinner at the home of Simon the Leper, apparently known well enough by early Christians to be named. The ‘woman’ is identified in John 12:3 as Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Both the alabaster jar and the ‘nard’ perfume were extremely expensive. Mary and her brother and sister were wealthy folk, but this would have been quite costly even for them.

This event is substantially different than the anointing of Jesus by a ‘sinful’ woman recorded in Luke 7:36-50. On that occasion the contents of the jar was poured upon the feet of Jesus rather than his head and it was early in the Ministry of Jesus. It was also in the home of a man called Simon but a Pharisee rather than a leper and the message and lesson taught by Jesus on that occasion is entirely different. In Luke, the Pharisee judges Jesus for allowing the woman to anoint him. While here in Mark, the disciples are upset with the woman for wasting financial resources that might have helped the poor.

Verses 4-5:  “There were some…they scolded her.” In Matthew 26:8, they were identified as the disciples. Also, Judas Iscariot was singled out in John’s account (12:4-5). It should be noted that it was customary in those days to give gifts to the poor during Passover. A denarii was the usual daily wages for a laborer. If the perfume was worth 300 denarii, than it would be equal to a years wage, quite a substantial sum indeed.

Verses 6-9:  Here, Jesus tells the disciples to leave her alone because the woman had done a beautiful thing and had anointed him for his burial beforehand. He prophesied that her actions will be remembered down through time, wherever the Gospel is preached, and so it has been. Sometimes the statement of Jesus here is quoted as an excuse for not helping the poor. However, his time on the earth was unique. He was the ‘one and Only Begotten’ Son of God, the Co-Creator in the flesh; living, breathing, and ministering in the midst of his creation.

III.  Judas Plots To Betray Jesus –Verses 10-11

The Chief priests were looking for a way to do away with Jesus without creating a riot. Notice that it is Judas who comes to them and they are glad. They finally have their opportunity. But why did Judas decide to betray Jesus? This a question that has plagued Bible students forever. Mark does not really provide the answer.

What was the motivation for Judas? Was it for the money? The priests did promise to give him money. Matthew 26:15 informs us that it was merely 30 pieces of silver, a pitiful sum considering. Luke 23:3 and John 13:2,27 indicate that Satan was inspiring the action. Yet we are informed by Jesus that none of it was outside the plan of God (Jn. 19:11) and Judas is to be condemned for his action.

Some writers have speculated that Judas was trying to force Jesus to finally become the conquering Messiah that everyone expected. However, any motives that we may want to ascribe to Judas are mere speculation since none of the gospels clearly resolve this issue and give us a definitive reason for the betrayal of Judas.

It is particularly shocking that the one who betrayed Jesus was also one of his twelve closest associates. Judas was not only one of the leaders among the disciples of Jesus, he was actually the treasurer of the movement.

It should also be noted that he was from the southern region of Judea rather than from Galilee like the rest of the twelve. The implication is that he might have been better educated than the rest of the Twelve and might have come from a wealthier family. He might have even grown up with a cosmopolitan distain for those uneducated, uncultured, and unwashed folk from Galilee. Fact is, he probably had more in common with the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem. All speculation, but strong possibilities considering where he came from.

Regardless, Judas was a leader among the disciples and he witnessed all of the miracles and participated in the healings with the rest of them. Nevertheless, as a Judean he probably never felt like he was really ‘one of the guys’ and at times he may have felt like an outsider. I believe that Satan may have used his insecurities as a gateway to gain influence over Judas.

IV.  The Provision of The Upper Room –Verses 12-16

Verses 12-13:  When the disciples ask Jesus about preparations for the Passover meal, Jesus prophetically sends two of his disciples to find the provider of the room they need. This story is similar to Mark 11 when Jesus gave detailed prophetic direction to two of his disciples on how to borrow the donkey needed for the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Verses 14-16:  Notice the phrase: ‘The Teacher says.’ Jesus must have been well  known to the owner. Finally, notice also that everything was just as Jesus prophetically said it would be.

Many Bible scholars believe that this ‘upper room’ became a gathering place for the disciples after the resurrection, and was the same place they were gathered in on ‘Day of Pentecost’ in Acts. It might have also been the place where they were praying for Peter in Acts 12. Also, Acts 12:12 indicates that it could have been the boyhood home of John Mark (the writer of this gospel) and his mother Mary.

V.  ‘The Prophecy of Betrayal’ at The Last Supper –Verses 17-21

Verses 17-19:  The Passover meal was in progress when Jesus proclaimed that one of his closest twelve, who were right there eating with him, would actually end up betraying him. Each one reacted to the question, whether they might be the one (“is it I?”), only Judas and Jesus really knew the truth. The rest of the disciples must have been thinking that the betrayal would be in the distant future, since none of them were involved in a plot at the time. All were saddened by the prospect.

Verse 20:  The custom of eating Passover together was reserved for ones family or closest friends. The symbol of ‘dipping bread’ in a common bowl was a demonstration of the closest possible friendship and allegiance. That one of them (the closest of friends and companions) would actually betray Jesus was unthinkable in their culture, and a despicable act of the highest order. They would have questioned the possibility-surely it can’t be one of us. Jesus drives the horror home when he says:

“It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.”

Verse 21a:  Jesus continues with the phrase in verse 21 :

“For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, “

Jesus is probably referring to Isaiah 53, the ‘suffering servant’ passage:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”

Verse 21b:  “But woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born.”

One wonders what Judas was thinking when he heard this proclamation of Jesus. According to Jesus, Judas is culpable for his act of betrayal. The sacrifice of Jesus is the fulfillment of the plan of salvation, designed and ordained by The Father. The betrayal and death of Jesus was truly inspired by the devil. Yet, Judas remains responsible for his own actions.

Many have speculated and many have wondered, if it was possible for Judas to repent and be restored again like Peter was. Yet the query is left moot, since Judas did not repent but killed himself. Therefore, the full condemnation was deservedly his.

VI.  The Lord’s Supper –Verses 22-26

Verse 22:  The guys were still eating and probably talking and enjoying themselves. Then Jesus took some bread, gave thanks, and broke it, giving some to each one of them. He said:

“Take; this is my body.”

The whole tone of the supper changed in a moment. I’m sure that all of a sudden you could have heard a pin drop.

The last time Jesus talked like this (John 6:51-58), many of his disciples turned their backs on him and left. The Twelve stayed with it, but I am sure the idea of eating the body and drinking the blood of Jesus was unsettling and confusing for sure. But I’m also sure they sensed that something new and important was happening that night.

Lot’s of times in the last several years, the disciples would just listen to Jesus without daring to ask for a clear explanation. It would still be a while before the Twelve would truly understand the events of that evening and before the sacrifice of Jesus would become obvious and central to the faith.

Verses 23-24:  Next, Jesus took a cup and gave thanks over it and served it to them, saying:

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”

Though the twelve may not have totally understood what Jesus was saying and doing here, the symbols of blood and sacrifice could not have been missed or more poignant during the Passover. The Passover was a celebration of the ‘older’ covenant between God and Israel. Here Jesus is instituting a ‘new’ covenant based upon his own sacrifice which would fulfilled when he was crucified.

Verse 25:  The whole tone of the meal changed with this first ‘communion’. The disciples had grown up eating and celebrating the Passover, but this was different. Jesus continues:

“Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

The twelve probably wondered what this statement really meant. But soon events would overtake them all, and this would prove to be the last time Jesus would sit down and eat with all of them in this life. The next meal will be the Messianic banquet -the wedding supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:9).

Verse 26:  Notice that they culminate the meal with a hymn. It was a Passover tradition to sing the Hallel Psalms (Ps 115-118), usually singing the second half at the end of the meal. Afterwards, Jesus and his disciples leave and go to the Mount of Olives.

-Read: Mark 14: 27-72  for the next lesson.

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